Genre: Sports Developer: Polygames Publisher: Electronic Arts Players: 1-4 Released: 1994
Electronic Arts continues its best selling golf franchise with the third installment in the PGA series. Yes, this game did precede PGA Tour Golf III and is kind of really a PGA Tour Golf 2.5, featuring five courses, this time all taken from Europe. It also includes a few new modes, but otherwise it plays almost identically to Tour II.
I really enjoy golf games, even these older ones, and I started playing through European Tour. It still feels like EA may have still been a little too rigid with this game, a problem that plagued this series early entries, but as a whole it still holds up well and is fun to spend time with. Spending time is the key here though, as this isn’t really a pick up and play game. Sure, the mechanics are not that hard to learn, but the game is really tough to get good at far more so than some of the more accessible games of the era and isn’t really recommended for someone who’s only looking to play a casual golf game.
As I started playing the game more and more I really started improving a lot and now I can even win many tournaments which feels really good. My favorite mode is probably the skins match and I don’t know quite why but it’s probably because it doesn’t take as long to sit through. There are five courses this time around which adds some needed variety compared to the first two installments and it really helped keep my interest this time.
Unfortunately, many of the shortcomings and flaws that were in the first two games rear their head here too. My biggest complaint is the lack of music. There are a few short tunes in the menus and at the intros to each hole, but otherwise the game is devoid of everything but ambient background noise. While it’s all very accurate to the real thing, it just started to add to monotony of the experience. This game really needed to have an option to turn some background music on during the gameplay. The other problems I found here are with some of the ball physics just not behaving the way they should. To start, the wind is really sporadic, constantly changes direction, almost always seemed to be around 15 mph, and it almost always seemed to change directions even after each stroke on the same hole. The ball would also randomly hook or slice really hard when I was only a hair off on my aim. Sometimes, it would right into the wind and end up out of bounds, even with the most minimal error that I knew wouldn’t affect it that much. This wouldn’t happen that often, but when it did it really threw a good game off and also cost me a few games.
None of these problems are major and are far from game breakers, but they are still naggling nonetheless. Aside from that, it is really competent and engaging, and I had a hard time putting it down many times when I started getting good at it. The game still features the same drop-down menu style of the first two titles, which is kind of cool as well. It also saves your progress so you don’t have to play it for extended periods either, which I really liked as well. There were many times I only had time to play two or three holes at a time, and the save allowed for that.
PGA European Tour probably wasn’t very groundbreaking for its time, since its improvements weren’t that much a leap from part II, and it feels dated and bit tedious to play in this day and age. However, it’s still a really solid golf game and one of the better ones on the Genesis.Thanks to the added courses and variety, I definitely had a lot more fun with this than part II. That being said, I still couldn’t recommend this for a game for casual players, as it still has a bit of a learning curve to overcome. If you’re a big sports video game fan or big into golf games, then this game will treat you well.
SCORE: 7 out of 10